If you are an small to medium sized business (SMB) executive, ask yourself the following question, “Wouldn’t it be nice to have all of the tools you and your employees need to communicate and collaborate on an easy-to-use web-based dashboard? “ In fact, wouldn’t it be nice if all you could monitor all of the activities you need visibility on in real time, including the activities of your customer facing employees (e.g., those with contact center functions whether you have a formal contact center or not)?
What is described above has been the promise of unified communications (UC) for years, i.e., it is:
- Loaded with functionality, now including things like mobility and social media
- Almost universally accessible
- Capable of easily established and enforced personalization/customization to meet SMB policies and rules
- Future ready
The latter being that it can be premises-based, come via the cloud or through a hybrid solution and that none of the functionality is lost no matter what meets your needs the best right now and can be easily migrated as those needs change.
The good news is that Fonality, a market leader in the development of phone and contact center solutions designed exclusively for (SMBs), heard those desires from the SMB marketplace to literally make work easier and acted. The company has announced the beta release of the new Fonality (News - Alert) Web Client, an advanced Web-based application designed to simplify the way SMBs use their phone system to communicate and conduct business. As the company states, “This milestone innovation demonstrates Fonality’s commitment to delivering affordable business communication tools to SMBs by harnessing the power of the web in an easy-to-use environment.”
A host of UC capabilities made easy via the Web
Fonality Web Client incorporates the features and functionality of Fonality Heads Up Display (HUD) and HUD Mobile, yet totally changes the user experience into a personalized social community. It enables an easy access point for SMBs to interact, manage contacts and streamline workflow anywhere, anytime, offering support for PC, laptop, smartphone and tablet integration (Android &Apple (News - Alert)). The interface is designed to focus the user experience on building a community of people and conversations vs. functions and features — transforming the way SMBs communicate and conduct business.
While it is difficult to demonstrate utility from a static view, the graphic below highlights the impressive capabilities that are being offered to allow SMB users to have literally an interactive window into “E”verything they need to engage their colleagues, partners and customers in new conversations that optimize the way in which business is conducted, along with the ability to monitor all of this in real-time. Each one of the icons provides one click to a function and as you can see the status of critical people in your work and personal life are known and are also one click away from engagement.
In talking about the release of the beta version, Fonality CEO David Scult noted that, “SMB users will be amazed how this intuitive Web-based tool can help streamline workflow and simplify business interactions…Feature updates are instantaneous for both cloud and on-premise users. Since it lives in the browser, there are no boundaries — as long as SMB users can connect to the web from a desktop or smartphone, they can easily communicate and conduct business efficiently…The Web-based environment makes this system extremely agile and open to countless innovation possibilities – API integration with third-party SMB tools like CRM, cloud storage, social networks.”
In the name of full disclosure, TMC (News - Alert) uses Fonality, and I had the pleasure of having David walk me through a live demo here at the ITEXPO Austin 2012 event that has just started our four-day run. As a current user, it was fascinating to see all of the enhancements that have been rolled into Fonality Web Client. Not only is there a complete set of call-handling and contact center features, and support for all of the features I currently rely on, but there were also new features like:
- Personalization of the dashboard tailored to workflow needs
- Desktop screen share, file sharing and voicemail transcription
- API integration including CRM and social networks
- Ease of access to feature upgrades
- Touch-friendly for smart mobile devices
I particularly am looking forward to the screen and file sharing capabilities and voicemail transcription.
Scult in putting the app through its paces explained that the reason this is transformative is because, “We designed this specifically for SMBs from the ground up. We asked our customers how we could improve our solution so it could do what they want to make them more productive. We believe we are meeting or exceeding their needs by delivering highly productive world-class software with the kinds of capabilities you’d expect in large enterprises, along with a few extras which large IT departments might be slow to support, and with a variety of options for deployment that can fit into SMBs’ business imperatives.”
Existing Fonality customers who would like to join the beta program can go to www.Fonality.com/beta for more information. Beta testers only need a Fonality business phone system to use the new Web-based HUD. The Fonality Web Client will be generally available in early 2013 with limited availability starting in November of this year.
I asked a panel I moderated if after all the years of analysts saying this is the year of UC whether in fact it is. The consensus was a qualified yes. There is movement to the cloud, in part driven by UC in the SMB market, and large enterprises looking to leverage the benefits of presence and other UC and related collaboration tools that are accessible everywhere are also contemplating moving many parts of their communications as well. Certainly n the SMB market, having something like the Fonality Web Client is going to help move things along.
To find out more about Fonality visit the company at ITEXPO Austin 2012, taking place now at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, TX. Visit Fonality in booth #403. Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.